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Student Shows 2014: University of Ulster

Michael McGarry reviews Belfast School of Architecture’s end-of-year show

The excellently curated Belfast School of Architecture show is on the top two floors of the York Street Building, right in the middle of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter; work is now well underway to radically extend the campus, a fantastic commitment to Belfast’s future as the primary cultural and economic force within Northern Ireland. Architecture sits within the other design disciplines of fashion and fine art, making for lively juxtapositions of artefacts and design work. The strength of the school is its rootedness, embedded in both a wider design culture and within Belfast.

Standout units & students

Standout years are Year 3 of the BA, and the final year thesis of the MArch, the former exhibiting serious spatial skills in model and drawings and the latter maturing into a careful crafted understanding of the design thesis as narrative, place, and tectonic, this year under the banner of Open City Belfast. Fifth Year (MArch) continues its exploration of housing typologies with nuanced articulations of habitation and building form as cross-referenced between Belfast and Berlin.

Standout Student work must include the thesis projects of Anita Quinn’s Maker’s Retreat, Sarah Mitchell’s timber box of memories, and Richard Hall’s translation of shadow to the urban condition. The choreography of the final year MArch thesis work is exemplary with artefact, drawing, and text, deftly balanced.

  • Michael McGarry, is professor of architecture, Queen’s University Belfast

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